The inaugural Gippsland Red Meat Conference (GRMC) took place on February 15 at the Riviera Convention Centre in Bairnsdale with guests from across the region.
Organiser Craig Bush told Gippsland Farmer the event was “a stunning success”.
“It was a complete sell-out of the waitlist and it was very well-received by everyone who attended,” Mr Bush said.
“It was an event for beef and sheep meat producers to access up-to-date information about production issues and also about carbon farming, and an update on the carbon neutrality target by 2030. We talked about the advantages of crossbreeding and other issues, it was really quite a diverse program.”
The conference began with the announcement by National Recovery & Resilience Agency Board member Don Heatley, OAM, of the successful funding application from conference hosts Gippsland Agricultural group (GAgG) for its $985,000 Recovery and Resilience Centre.
After that it was down to business with a presentation from former NSW Farmer of the Year, Nigel Kerin, who shared some revelations:
- Climate change is the biggest single driver of profit in his business.Despite record cattle prices, Mr Kerin contends they have never been cheaper, because there is greater earning capacity on-farm.
- The only difference in financing a $2000 steer over a $1000 steer is the interest cost. An extra eight days of weight gain will cover the extra interest.
- Ego kills businesses. Mr Kerin never makes a trade unless he has at least four months of feed ahead of him.
- You don’t make money out of sheep or cattle, you make money out of grass.
Next, was a Carbon Farmers’ forum featuring Melbourne University academic Richard Eckard, Philip Island grazier and carbon farmer Bob Davie, and Matt Crozier from Cavan Station.
During a dinner after the conference, the 175 guests were joined by the producer of the Network 10 cooking show “Farm to Fork”, Darren Anderson.
Food & Fibre Gippsland smart specialisation program manager Ben Gebert, introduced a new initiative, the Gippsland Trusted Provenance brand, available to Gippsland producers, growers, makers and creators.
GAgG chair Trent Anderson said he enjoyed listening to farmers who had extensive experience.
“It had a good format where you could choose which speakers you could go listen to talk about stock trading, or another about resilience,” Mr Anderson said.
Mr Anderson said a major obstacle facing Gippsland farmers was politics.
“Politics and politicians are the biggest challenge,” he said.
“Season is good, prices are good, we don’t have too much trouble at the moment, but you always have to be wary of government policy.”